Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Cheap distributed audio?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Cheap distributed audio?

    Hi,

    I'd like to add speakers to a number of rooms, to receive HS announcements, and perhaps occasional MP3's (birdsong in the kids room at wakeup time, for example). Lo-Fi would be just fine - I'm after something cheap.

    What are my options?
    - Wireless self-powered speakers?
    - Maybe centrally located receiver, with speaker-level feeds to various rooms?
    - Other ideas?

    How would I go about switching which speakers are fed? Do I need some sort of fancy switch? Or could I do it with multiple (cheap) sound cards in my HS PC? Or USB soundcards close to self-powered speakers? Or X-10 applicance control of powered speakers?

    Is there an easy (cheap ) way to have 2 different concurrent audio tracks in 2 different rooms, or does that greatly increase the cost?

    I guess what I'd really like is to see a primer on feeding and controlling audio to multiple destinations, but with an emphasis on low-end rather than fancy/top-dollar.

    Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    -jim.

    #2
    There are several approaches to this, you can use one receiver and an impedance matching speaker selector and fee the same information to all wired speakers in the house. You could then refine this using a computer controlled speaker selector like the A/B Speaker switcher box which can be controlled by X10, IR, and direct RS232 and there's a paid plugin for this device in the HomeSeer store.
    http://www.hacs.com/ab8ss.html

    Then for multi-zoned sound you can use a separate stereo receiver in each location and control these via IR and an Ocelot or similar IR controller.

    There are a ton of way that one could accomplish this and using powered speaker is one way if you speakers do not suffer from the constant hum and static that many of these wireless speakers do.
    -Rupp
    sigpic

    Comment


      #3
      Welcome to HS!

      What I have done is put together some scripts and using Winamp and some USB sound cards.

      Each sound card is a different zone.

      Then I associated certain X10 ranges to each zone. For PLay, stop, Pause, etc.

      The human interface is done using mcsAudrey and a few Audrey's sprinkled around the house (or any web viewing PC) which interfaces to a custom webpage made from using different scripts from different people around the board. This is why I haven't posted it. I don't feel right taking credit for borrowing other people's code without thier permission then reposting it as my own. That's just not right.

      The webpage looks in a directory on the server, populated a webpage with all the available play lists. You choose the zone and playlist, which updates the server's event associated with playing the zoned audio.

      Then all you need to do is run some high quality cables from the sound card's output to a set of PC speakers. I have run this to a length of 100foot so far without any noticeable sound problems. I'm sure there are higher quality ways of doing this, but so far for my house I have 9 zones (1 whole house and 8 actual zones) and it cost me a total of a few hours of my time and $200 for speakers and wiring (I used some decent PC speakers from Radio Shack).

      I should also mention that having HS speak to the different "zones" is as easy as just opening another copy of the speaker application and having it point to a different sound card.

      The only issue with my way using USB sound cards is unless they are different brands you need to modify the USB hub to get the boot order correct each time the PC boots. Otherwise the order that windows see the USB cards is the order they boot (or Zone they are associated with). I have a small circuit I use for that if you care.

      --Dan


      Originally posted by jimcu View Post
      Hi,

      I'd like to add speakers to a number of rooms, to receive HS announcements, and perhaps occasional MP3's (birdsong in the kids room at wakeup time, for example). Lo-Fi would be just fine - I'm after something cheap.

      What are my options?
      - Wireless self-powered speakers?
      - Maybe centrally located receiver, with speaker-level feeds to various rooms?
      - Other ideas?

      How would I go about switching which speakers are fed? Do I need some sort of fancy switch? Or could I do it with multiple (cheap) sound cards in my HS PC? Or USB soundcards close to self-powered speakers? Or X-10 applicance control of powered speakers?

      Is there an easy (cheap ) way to have 2 different concurrent audio tracks in 2 different rooms, or does that greatly increase the cost?

      I guess what I'd really like is to see a primer on feeding and controlling audio to multiple destinations, but with an emphasis on low-end rather than fancy/top-dollar.

      Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks!

      -jim.
      Last edited by drozwood90; January 15, 2007, 12:59 PM. Reason: added a thought
      Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by drozwood90 View Post
        Welcome to HS!

        What I have done is put together some scripts and using Winamp and some USB sound cards.

        Each sound card is a different zone.

        Then I associated certain X10 ranges to each zone. For PLay, stop, Pause, etc.

        The human interface is done using mcsAudrey and a few Audrey's sprinkled around the house (or any web viewing PC) which interfaces to a custom webpage made from using different scripts from different people around the board. This is why I haven't posted it. I don't feel right taking credit for borrowing other people's code without thier permission then reposting it as my own. That's just not right.

        The webpage looks in a directory on the server, populated a webpage with all the available play lists. You choose the zone and playlist, which updates the server's event associated with playing the zoned audio.

        Then all you need to do is run some high quality cables from the sound card's output to a set of PC speakers. I have run this to a length of 100foot so far without any noticeable sound problems. I'm sure there are higher quality ways of doing this, but so far for my house I have 9 zones (1 whole house and 8 actual zones) and it cost me a total of a few hours of my time and $200 for speakers and wiring (I used some decent PC speakers from Radio Shack).

        I should also mention that having HS speak to the different "zones" is as easy as just opening another copy of the speaker application and having it point to a different sound card.

        The only issue with my way using USB sound cards is unless they are different brands you need to modify the USB hub to get the boot order correct each time the PC boots. Otherwise the order that windows see the USB cards is the order they boot (or Zone they are associated with). I have a small circuit I use for that if you care.

        --Dan

        Dan,

        It would be great if you could share this... it sounds like something I'd impliment.

        Are you using HS1.7 or HS2.x... or does it matter?

        Instead of using Audrey I'd want to do a web interface. I already have the ASP code for HS 1.7 I've been using for years so I'm thinking I could mod it to work with your setup.

        Comment


          #5
          Oxymoron??


          Originally posted by drozwood90 View Post
          Welcome to HS!......

          (I used some decent PC speakers from Radio Shack).


          --Dan
          John

          Comment


            #6
            Well, decent as in decent as far as radioshack goes!

            As for my code, I wrote it for HS 2.1, however do not think there is anything specific in there that would prevent you from using it with any HS webserver that would read asp stuff. I would be willing to send it to you, privately, so long as we can both agree, I just pasted and tweaked other people's stuff for the bulk of the code. That is, use it, enjoy it, but don't post it to the forum as code for everyone to think I or you or someone else that might post it wrote. That is not fair to the authors, and I have not quoted who what code came from in my code NOR asked permission to use their code. I did so as I was doing it on my own machine only. In my excitement of getting the pages working I neglected to comment what code came from where so I could thank the authors and ask for permission to use their code in my project officially (to post it).

            In fact the majority of people's code still has their comments and such. I just used their functions as they had already figured out how to make certain functions happen (such as populating the webpage with links to files that exist on the hard drive in a certain directory).

            Maybe I can go back and figure out who I got the functions from.

            I did write a few pages that "loads" the event information so that the proper songs are playing on the proper zone, as well as translating the webpage information to start a Zoned winamp (using another .exe to interface to Winamp).

            Most of what I did was glue everyone's bits and pieces together to make them work as a Zoned Audio system.

            Does that sound fair enough?

            --Dan
            Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

            Comment


              #7
              I guess thinking about it, my major contribution is the circuit that turns the USB sound cards on in the correct order so the Zones stay consistent each reboot (otherwise this doesn't work too well as the code will not sync with the proper Zone).

              --Dan
              Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

              Comment


                #8




                Does anyone have any experience with thesehere

                That would enable me to do one long USB run (with repeaters) from my HS computer in the basement up to the top floor of my house, then into a powered USB hub, then into these sound cards, then into powered speakers such as these in 4 rooms. Won't be hi-fi, but probably more than adequate for HS announcements, no?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jimcu View Post
                  Hmm, lots of ideas here – thanks!

                  It’s got me thinking more about external USB sound cards. Dan, your USB boot-order circuit sounds like a necessity – how do others get around this?<O
                  I need that circuit because I'm using the SAME sound card. So Windows shows them as USB Sound Device, USB Sound Device 2, USB Sound Device 3, etc...

                  So, to keep that Name the same, I created a boot circuit.

                  Originally posted by jimcu View Post

                  Does anyone have any experience with these? They’re USB sound cards, and can be had for $8 shipped here, with additional units $5 shipped. Darn cheap, but perhaps they’d do?


                  Probably would be fine. I purchased my cards from CompGeeks.com CBL-HE-280B

                  I see the advantage of your device is that it has a cable on the end (makes it easier to plug a bunch of them into a single USB hub that's been hacked). I ended up spending extra $$ to get small USB extension cables just to get them all plugged in.

                  Originally posted by jimcu View Post
                  <O
                  Originally posted by jimcu View Post

                  That would enable me to do one long USB run (with repeaters) from my HS computer in the basement up to the top floor of my house, then into a powered USB hub, then into these sound cards, then into powered speakers such as these in 4 rooms. Won't be hi-fi, but probably more than adequate for HS announcements, no?
                  Be careful in that USB 2.0 needs an expensive repeater (at least from what I can tell) to be used as a repeater. The best thing to do it make some custom cable lengths, and put a few hubs together to get 2.0 to extend (again just to be cost effective).

                  However, like I said above, I have 100' and 150' runs and have not noticed any real loss of sound quality using my <cough> "crappy" Radioshack speakers.

                  Jim, as soon as I get the files together and a screen capture or two of the events and devices you need to make I'll PM you a link.

                  --Dan
                  Last edited by drozwood90; January 16, 2007, 09:55 AM. Reason: Content added
                  Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Jim,

                    Good find on those speakers! They seem to have a better response then the radio shack ones I am using (getting for the rest of the zones that I do not have yet). I suppose I'll have to start getting those Altec Lansings's from newegg instead!

                    Another note: I have a hacked up X10 lamp module that I changed to being an appliance module. I'm currently in the middle of switching everything over to UPB, so I haven't put them up for sale yet, but if you are using X10, I'd be willing to part with them (I have 4 so far).

                    If not, I'm going to be doing a X10 lot sale in about a week or so.

                    --Dan
                    Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      If I had a large house that I didn't want to wire I'd do an FM transmitter and some small FM radios tuned in around the house. If you really want to get fancy, tie them into appliance modules so you can mute some.


                      ~Bill

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Nice thread. I'm interested in the USB sound cards, a pretty cheap alternative. Does the boot order change with each reboot thus the need for the circuit you describe?
                        Billy Draper

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Yes. the order changes because I have a bunch of the SAME USB card plugged in. Otherwise order doesn't matter as they are all named the same after each boot.

                          It has to do with the USB clock. USB hubs do a round robin type of polling for events. Depending on the TYPE of USB device (I think there are 4 types, I can't remember exactly), the USB hub dishes out data differently.

                          USB speakers are one type, the hub just dumps the data out. Kind of like UDB packets. Whatever gets there gets there, it's more critical to be ready for the next data packet then to re-try for data accuracy (time critical). Web cams should fall in this category.

                          Then there are interrupt based devices, such as a mouse/keyboard. It requires little bandwidth as it only needs it when you move it.

                          As this round robin happens all the time, when Windows boots, it starts the hub, which starts the clock. So, wherever in the chain of events it starts asking for devices to state who they are, how much bandwidth they need, how much power they need, etc. is the order in which they boot.

                          So, what I did (not good enough to release to people, but can help others to do what I did) was put all my sound cards on ONE USB hub. When the hub gets power, it powers up my circuit. Then using the Parallel port plugin for HS, I turn on a bit. At this point the circuit turns on the USB devices one at a time in the correct order (10 second delay between each).

                          --Dan
                          Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If these USB sound cards will run at USB 1.1, Geeks has a this fancy CablesToGo one







                            this MP3FM kit


                            Thanks for all the suggestions and advice, everyone!


                            -jim.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post
                              If these USB sound cards will run at USB 1.1, Geeks has a for $16.
                              The one that I pointed out above is only 2.0. I tried to run it at 1.1 and the thing gets HOT, I mean REALLY hot, as in you can smell solder hot (which is how I found it was getting hot!!).

                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post


                              I went to radioshack and bought a normal 50' headphone extension cable. I have 2 of these in another section of the house and 3 of these in the third. I really do not notice the difference in sound quality as the losses aren't enough for me to care. Just make sure that the speakers on the other end are powered. I might have had to add and amp to my bathroom speakers as they were water resistant, but not powered. BUt the run was less then 50' to that speaker. Also for this I use a piece of ethernet cable. The twisting might help.

                              I'm thinking of converting the 15' run to ethernet for ease of use (it's just drapped in the house right now).

                              No sheilding, but that's why I want to use ehternet, to help eliminate this need (as the wires are twisted).

                              I've also done video over a 100' piece of composite (5 20' pieces conencted with couplers) looks like CRAP. I did the SAME thing by making my own box using an article from elephant staircase as my inspiration (where I take 3 RCA jacks and 1 stereo heaphone jack and convert that to ethernet). I then hooked that to a 100' piece of ethernet. WOW, picture looked like I had a 5' piece, using the SAME hardware. So, then I tried the bathroom speakers with a 50' piece. No problems. It's loud. The sound seems just like it did when I was plugged right into the USB sound card.

                              At least to me!

                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post
                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post



                              Yes, I take an X10 RF signal, and make commands from that on the server.

                              The server has multiple copies of winamp, all setup for different zones. When I get a X10 command for "PLAY", which correlated to Zone1, Zone1's speaker's appliance/lamp module (silent appliance module that I made) is turned on, then winamp is loaded with the correct playlist, and it plays.

                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post







                              I use a lamp module, which I hacked to turn into an appliance module. Nice and silent! One cheaper speaker that I have "pops" when power is applied, but then again it did that even when I turned the power on using the speaker's controls.

                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post

                              <O
                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post





                              Right now, I use a PIC microcontroller and an output from the parallel port. I've been thinking I want to make a passive device to cut down on power use (yeah it's mAmps @ 5V, but still, I can make it lower!!). When the pic wakes, it waits for the input trigger, then turns the power fets on one at a time to apply power to the USB device.

                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post

                              <O
                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post


                              Winamp itself can be setup for this.

                              Install winamp.

                              go into the settings

                              In there you can tell it to send music to a specific sound card

                              Take that directory, and make a copy of it, change that copy to point to another sound card.

                              Repeat as necessary

                              The trick is to load winamp with a different "program" name for each copy.

                              I'll post more on this as I am at work. I don't have putty with me so I can't remote into my house right now. If I get time I'll get putty on my work machine and post some pics of the events (which will have the commands evident)

                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post


                              I think WMP can only have one instance running, so that does that mean running different music players for each sound card?

                              I just use 1 copy of winamp / zone, you'll see.

                              Originally posted by jimcu View Post


                              this MP3FM kit


                              Thanks for all the suggestions and advice, everyone!


                              -jim.
                              Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X